Dear Cheektowaga Community,
I have had the privilege to serve the Cheektowaga Central School District for the last 28 years and over the expanse of these years have marveled at how careful we have been to keep our buildings running smoothly and our campuses operating efficiently. Over the years we have embarked upon a series of capital projects which allowed us to maintain our level of operation, but those improvements did not expand the footprint of our buildings in terms of space. As a result, we now need to create new space for the safety, as well as academic growth, of our youngest learners at Union East Elementary.
I can remember the excitement surrounding my first capital project in 1995 which addressed facility improvements and technology upgrades. On the tech side of that project, my Apple 2C computer was replaced by a state-of-the-art IBM computer. The project was commonly referred to as the windows project, due to the replacement of windows throughout our campus. In addition, the high school auditorium was refurbished and a new music wing created a performance space for our student-musicians that is on par with our award-winning performing arts program. Our chorus and band programs are identified locally as some of the best in the area and growing at such a rate that we now have 134 students participating in the third-grade choral program and 86 at fourth grade.
Since then, there have been many projects similar in nature designed to repair crumbling infrastructure and upgrade our systems so we could remain current in the world of education. Our most recent capital project, which is concluding now, allowed the district to complete asbestos abatement work, conclude HVAC improvements, complete some minor reconstruction, add new doors, security enhancements, bathroom upgrades from the original 1978 fixtures and create new sports facilities / field. Reflecting back to the 2003 project, our current Middle School was created, allowing a new level of inspiration to occur as well as the expansion of learning.
Throughout these projects, growth at Union East Elementary School has continued to occur. Classes have grown to capacity. Therapists are working in hallways. Cafeterias are being utilized for Academic Intervention Services and multiple classes are combined in the gymnasium in order to accommodate for state requirements in physical education. Art classes, as well as music education classes, are on a mobile cart because there is simply no room. Children eat breakfast in the classroom as our cafeterias do double duty as classrooms. Physical therapy is now taking place in a rented classroom annex, next to the building. UPK enrollment is up with increases from 4 ½ to 6 full day sessions.
Due to this exponential growth and our enrollment numbers exceeding prediction over the last 10 years, we need a plan to create the best space possible for our youngest children. The district has been studying this need and has called upon experts in the field of architecture and planning to collaborate with us in designing a solution. The proposed 2019 Union East Elementary capital project we present to our community is both educationally and fiscally responsible to meet the needs of our growing educational community. It will provide an addition to Union East Elementary School that is desperately needed and one our families deserve.
The Board of Education and I encourage you to be informed about the project and vote on December 10, 2019.
Mary Morris, Superintendent
Renee M. Wilson, Board of Education President